Who doesn’t love that sun-kissed look that says you spent the day outside playing in the sun? People will go to great lengths to acquire that look. Some do it the old fashioned way. Who from high school remembers crawling out my bathroom window to lay out on the roof of my house? Kim? Debbie? Jen? We used to spend our summers worshiping the sun (Debbie always had a gorgeous summer tan) and often lathering ourselves with canola oil to attract the sun because we were out of, um, baby oil. We also went to the beach and laid out at Sheila’s pool without using SPF-loaded products. (I always justified this by thinking the Maine sun was less harmful than the California sun.)
It was the 80s. Everyday products like body lotion and foundation didn’t have SPF. Or maybe it did and we didn’t pay attention. Maybe it was the invincibility of youth.
But really, I should have known better. When we were little, my mom was putting sunscreen on us (I can still envision the bottles of Sea & Ski) in the 70s before it was vogue to do such a thing. We even had our noses routinely painted with a healthy dose of zinc oxide before going to the pool. But that didn’t stop my teenage self from absorbing a sun that we did not acknowledge would give us the wrinkles we now curse.
While these days I’m more or less a direct sun-evader, there are many who embrace its deceiving glow. If you want or need to be in the sun, all your skin asks of you is to use sunscreen. And something better than SPF 4. For me, I’m a big fan, for everyday use, of the Bobbi Brown Brightening Protective Face Base. I use serious sunscreen if I am going to the pool, but for everyday under-the-make-up purposes, the Bobbi Brown provides SPF of 50, goes on lightly and doesn’t smell like Coppertone (after all, who needs an olfactory reminder that they’re going to work and not the beach?)
I have also been a devoted fan for many years of Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer. While it only has SPF 20, and thus is not sufficient by itself, the product is superb, and when combined with the aforementioned face base, I feel protected enough to sit outside at the Cafe Berlin and enjoy a seasonally appropriate Spaten after work.
What I am trying to say is: if you need to be in the sun, be smart about it. Take it from someone in her early 40s who still gets carded. While I have not but on a handful of occasions in my irresponsible youth visited a tanning salon, it seems that these beds of aging have a draw that is undeniable for the Millennials. I have to admit to watching a dreadful episode of a TLC show called My Strange Addiction in which a young woman was seriously addicted to tanning. Her need for a UV fix was so bad that she would travel to more than one salon a day, because no one place would not allow her to tan twice daily. She might have been 21 (if that) but her skin looked much older than mine does at 41. Long ago, I gave the anti-tanning bed advice to my 25-year old sister Meghann and it seems she has finally switched to self-tanners (or so she tells me). But on that note, if you are going to do liquid tan, take time to apply it evenly. Even super cute shoes can’t hide a streaky orange ankle.
With the money you save by not going to the tanning salon, you can save up to fund a trip to the Greek Isles. Just don’t forget your sunscreen.